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Posted on: April 13, 2020

New Order Requires People to Wear Face Masks in Public

CDC facemask-instructions-01

The County of Sonoma Public Health Officer has issued a new Health Order, effective 12 AM on Friday, April 17, 2020, that requires everyone to wear face masks outside the home to further slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).


Specifically, the new Health Order requires people to wear a face mask before they enter a building or any enclosed space (except their home). People must also wear a face mask/covering if they go outdoors but can’t keep at least six feet away from others at all times. 

Note: Wearing a face mask does NOT take the place of social distancing. You still need to keep six feet away or more from others in public. Wearing a face mask does help to protect other people from you in case you have contracted the coronavirus but you don’t show any symptoms. 

These face masks should NOT be N95 or other medical-grade masks; those should be reserved for healthcare workers. Instead, you can easily make your own face mask from t-shirts, scarves, bandannas, or even tea towels. 

This new Health Order also applies to employers who continue to operate “essential businesses.” Employers who require their employees to leave their homes to work must ensure that their employees also wear face masks. 

There are a couple of exceptions to this Health Order. 
- You don’t have to wear a face mask if you’re driving alone in your car, or if you’re driving with  members of your household. However, if you need to buzz down your car window to speak with first responders, food service workers, or other people you don’t live with, then you need to put your face mask on. 
- Don’t place these face coverings on children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or who otherwise can’t remove the mask without help.

Face masks must: 
- Be worn only by one person. 
- Cover the mouth and nose and fit snugly around the face. 
Fitted carefully to prevent frequent adjustment.
- Washed frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. If you must re-wear the face mask before you can wash it, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
- Discarded if it gets stretched out or damaged and cannot stay on the face or has holes/tears in the fabric.

And remember to thoroughly wash your hands any time before or after touching and adjusting the face mask.

This CDC page has detailed instructions on how you can make a face mask (with no-sew and sew options) with items you already have: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html 

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